Understanding the Gearing of Modernism: Vasily Kandinsky’s Manifesto “On the Spiritual in Art” | The Cave of Apelles

Magnus Vanebo and Jan-Ove Tuv sit down to discuss the meaning and significance of Vasily Kandinsky’s manifesto “On the Spiritual in Art”. What exactly is “pure” mimesis and the “innate” power of color? Who knows, are the thoughts presented in the abstractionist’s essay even as original as the author wants them to be, or are they borrowed and perhaps even taken directly from previous thinkers?

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Chapter markers:
00:02 Predetermined development
10:10: Outer form hindering the inner content?
15:00: Inner necessity and universal content
18:45: The “innate” power of color
20:29: Mysticism and avoiding the representational form
22:24: Self-contradictory freedom of expression
24:59: Avoiding narratives and the fairytale-like
30:21: “Pure” mimesis, untainted by our senses
33:46: Mythological themes in Kandinsky’s works?
37:50: Kandinsky’s “dehumanization”
42:48: Art = one small detail of old master painting
45:13: Kandinsky’s journey to abstraction
48:55: Kandinsky vs screenwriting
53:09: Kitsch & Art — an age-old dichotomy




This episode featured Magnus Vanebo & Jan-Ove Tuv and was filmed and edited by Bork Nerdrum.
The centerpiece was a 19th century reproduction of G. F. Watts’ Hope.

Fergus Ryan
Shaun Roberts
Matthias Proy
Børge Moe
Eivind Josten


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  • Apelles was asked why he touched and retouched his pictures with so much care, to which he replied:
    "I paint for eternity"